On Planetariums and John McCain’s Short-Sightedness

When I was younger, my father used to take me, my brother, and my sister to the planetarium on a regular basis. I loved it. Lean back in the chair, look up at the presentation, and learn something about the universe we live in. My interest in astronomy was kindled by Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. TheContinue reading “On Planetariums and John McCain’s Short-Sightedness”

On Ridiculous Measures

I received recently an e-mail, purporting to contain a list of spurious weights and measures. Bizarre scales. Never, ever, possibly used scales. Nothing like furlongs per fortnight or anything like that. But the “sheppey,” defined as “the closest distance at which sheep remain picturesque,” or roughly 7/8 of a mile. (Note to self: Use theContinue reading “On Ridiculous Measures”

On “Across the Universe Day”

On Tuesday the DVD of Across the Universe hits stores. I needed to see that film the way I need oxygen, and for the most part I enjoyed the film. The soundtrack, at the very least, is one of the rare Beatles covers albums worth owning. It turns out that Tuesday, February 5th, is almostContinue reading “On “Across the Universe Day””

On Angering the Red Planet

Astronomers have rated an asteroid as having a 1 in 75 chance of striking Mars on January 30, 2008. The asteroid, known as 2007 WD5, was discovered in late November and is similar in size to the Tunguska object that hit remote central Siberia in 1908, unleashing energy equivalent to a 15-megaton nuclear bomb thatContinue reading “On Angering the Red Planet”

On the Wonders of the Universe

Regular readers of this website picking it up off the various feed options may be unaware of a little feature of the blog — there’s a sidebar widget that shows the Astronomy Picture of the Day. It’s a nifty website where, in their words, “a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured,Continue reading “On the Wonders of the Universe”

On Research Avenues

Sometimes research will lead one down strange alleys. I spent the afternoon doing some research into the Aristotlean and Ptolemaic conceptions of the geocentric universe. In so doing I discovered an unusual belief held by ancient Mesopotamian and Greek cultures (and written about by Plato in the Epinomis), that Saturn was a star like theContinue reading “On Research Avenues”